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Do we question sexuality too much?

El Bar and 'Sex in the City'


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Whether you date girlie girls or girlie boys, if you've done so since 1998 then you have been forced by your other significant to watch at least three and three-fourths episodes, if not more, of "Sex and the City." And every one of you has now been designated (whether you know it or not) as a Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbes, Samantha Jones or Charlotte York.

I'm a Samantha, by the way, though some people would expect a columnist to be like Sarah Jessica Parker's character; you know, building on a Leaning Pisa of snappy witticisms and describing the kinds of events Fate and American Express only allot to trust-fund babies. Admittedly, I have a firm grasp on writing a column so top-heavy with puns it's like breast implants in the Dead Sea. Unfortunately, I couldn't be further from a trust-fund baby if I were peddling glass pipes in Little 5 Points square. Then again, I always wonder how all those panhandling "punks" maintain such well-fed puppies.

But, back on track, I did find myself recently identifying with ole Parker's Carrie B. Good. I'm not resorting to chain smoking at my laptop and pondering an oxymoron such as whether we "need distance to get close." But during a late-night traipse across Midtown I did reminisce about my lifetime of flings and unrequited crushes. Except, like Carrie Bradshaw, they have often been with cities.

I can thank a lot of empty streets for a lot of full memories and half-empty clubs for fulfillment. I thought about all of this Sat., March 4, after I stopped by El Bar , the "meet" locker tucked beneath El Azteca on Ponce. Open Thursday through Saturday, El Bar is a roughly hewn rumpus room -- emphasis on hewing some rump. There's so little space, you'll be forced to at least rub shoulders ... if not more desirable parts. To be honest, there isn't a lot to El Bar. The night I was there I surveyed a tightly packed bar, a DJ thumping hip-hop, mirrored walls and dim scarlet light. A feeling of isolation is El Bar's greatest cachet. But the concept fondly reminds me of reclaimed spaces I've frequented from Purple People in London to APT in New York to the original Trinity Street Eyedrum . The thrill of these places lies more in imagining anything can happen behind an unmarked door than from anything based in reality. And if romanticizing places and a kaleidoscopic collage of faces isn't so "Sex in the City," what is?

So I'm left at the end of the night wondering, do we search for small spaces to feel we're on a big adventure? Do we usually use space so poorly because our busy lives leave us little room to imagine otherwise? Or do we just write sexually ambiguous nightlife columns full of "Sex and the City" references because we had to postpone visits to Buckhead and Jimmy Carter Boulevard till next week's column and needed an easy gimmick? Go out March 17 to a Fadó, Meehan's, O'Terrill's, Limerick Junction, P'Cheen, etc. for St. Patrick's Day , find a Guinness or Jameson special, catch the downtown parade near Underground Atlanta at 1 p.m. on March 18 and check back here once your hangover subsides for these and other unanswered questions.

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